Ketanji Brown Jackson has been sworn in as a U.S. Supreme Court justice, becoming the first black woman to achieve the feat.
On Thursday, Ms Jackson took a constitutional oath, administered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and a judicial oath, administered by Justice Breyer.
The swearing-in event took place in the West Conference Room at the Supreme Court, in front of a small gathering of Ms Jackson’s family, including her two daughters and her husband, Dr Patrick G. Jackson.
“It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, but we’ve made it! We’ve made it — all of us”, she said.
Justice Jackson was confirmed in April after the Senate voted 53 to 47 on her nomination. She is replacing Justice Stephen G. Breyer, 83, who will be stepping down after the court’s current term on Friday.
Born in the District of Columbia in 1970, Jackson grew up in Miami in a family that valued public service.
She comes from an elite legal pedigree. Her parents began their careers as public school teachers. Two uncles were law enforcement officers, including one who became Miami’s police chief.
A high school debate champion and class president, Jackson earned her undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard, where she met her future husband Patrick Jackson, a surgeon. She was also a former editor of the Harvard Law Review.
She went on to work as a law clerk for three federal judges, including Senator Breyer in 1999.
“Justice Breyer, the members of the Senate will decide if I fill your seat, but please know that I could never fill your shoes”, She said on February 25, after her nomination by President Joe Bide.
She had served as a trial court judge in Washington for eight years before President Biden elevated her last year to the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.